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News Around Illinois – July 14, 2020

The latest news around the state, for July 14, 2020.

Loyola University Chicago Rolls Back Plans For In-Person Classes This Fall

Loyola University Chicago is walking back its initial plan to offer a mix of in-person and online classes this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to students and faculty Monday, University President Jo Ann Rooney and Provost Noberto Grzywacz said most classes would be offered online this fall, limiting in-person courses to labs, experiential learning classes and research. More than 200 faculty and staff signed a petition last week asking administration for the right to choose if they want to teach online or in-person. Faculty groups released a joint statement commending the university’s leadership. – Kate McGee – WBEZ

Illinois Hospitals Have A Patchwork System For Transferring COVID-19 Patients. Some State Lawmakers Say That Should Change.

Some Illinois lawmakers are calling for the state to coordinate transferring COVID-19 patients between hospitals, and demanding more transparency from medical centers to know which ones actually have beds available. “The state must do better,” said State Rep. La Shawn Ford, a Democrat who represents some West Side communities hit especially hard during the pandemic. Ford is among some lawmakers who are speaking out on the heels of a WBEZ investigation that revealed a patchwork system for transferring patients that has left some hospitals scrambling, usually the ones with the least amount of resources — and typically treating patients who are dying most of COVID-19, African Americans and Latinos. – Kristen Schorsch – WBEZ

New Practice Restrictions Cast Doubt Over Return Of High School Sports

Illinois high schools have sharply scaled back practices in response to new health data as their sports seasons remain in jeopardy during the pandemic. The IHSA has limited physical contact and won’t allow schools to scrimmage other schools. Student athletes are also required to wear masks unless they are outside and are social distancing. The changes haven’t impacted non-contact sports; tennis, swimming and cross country. – Eric Stock – WGLT

IWU Alumni Brace For Trustees Decisions On Cuts

Hundreds of Illinois Wesleyan University graduates are closely watching this week’s expected Board of Trustees decisions on the future direction of the institution. A variety of potential cuts and changes will be considered. Close to a third of the faculty has received pre-termination notices that their programs or positions may end. More than 800 alumni from more than a half century of classes have signed on to a petition sent to trustees urging the board to keep threatened programs and departments such as religion, philosophy, and sociology, including those that were not in earlier faculty recommendations for reduction. Instead faculty signed off on proposals to ‘transform’ or ‘sustain’ some of those offerings. – Charlie Schlenker – WGLT

Prevent West Nile Virus By Reducing Mosquito Population

An Illinois bird tested positive for West Nile virus, but no humans have been diagnosed with the virus this  year. Ryan Kerch is the environmental health supervisor with the Winnebago County Health Department. He says they don’t want to scare anybody, but it’s important to understand that the virus is always out there. Though rare, West Nile virus can cause encephalitis and meningitis. Adults over the age of 60 and those with a compromised immune system are the most risk for the virus. Kerch said the vast majority of people will be asymptomatic. To prevent an outbreak or even a single case, he says the best thing you can do is get rid of stagnant water. Cleaning out your gutters, removing old tires, and dumping out kiddie pools and wheelbarrows will reduce mosquito population. – Connie Kuntz – WNIJ

COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. We recommend checking the Coronavirus Information Center for the most recent numbers and guidance.

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